Thursday, September 8, 2011
Disability: Mental or truly physical affliction?
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With all the people filing up for disability benefits, all the parking spots for people with disability I have started to question, When did the world became disabled? When do I know I am disabled?
Honestly I didn't have nothing to write until today (Wednesday) yeah I was mentally disabled, totally out of sync I'm a human being. Well let me get to the topic already. Have you ever heard somebody say "I have a disability"? I have also heard about something called will power and today and saw it in action and I feel so fortunate to see that. A message to you, keep up the good attitude, you don't know who you may end up influencing. I was down I haven't feel this low in pretty long time and I know that through the whole year this blog have been up I always showed you strength but if you saw me today, you would not recognize me. I will tell you later what changed my day for the good.
It make me boil my blood seeing people taking advantage of the government, the government that the working class feed. You know, we work, we pay taxes, the government find money and other people take it because they have a disability. I'm not trying to be insensitive here I know some people have true disabilities and can't deal with regular life. Not for the man I will talk to you about.
I was in an office building today. Ironically the place where people apply for disability benefits, health insurance and other benefits I was applying for health and don't look at me bad because everybody have rights to good health services. I will be so proud if this man is one of my readers let me know if you are here. I get in the elevator with a woman half my height, just before the elevator closed this man push a trash can through the door. Just by curiosity I looked at the man and I noticed the man is lacking his right hand, I look at the left hand and he doesn't have a left hand neither but apparently they tried to attach fingers to it. This man have no hands, unless he has a bright brain to dictate to someone with two hands and publish books this man have no possibilities of working at anything. Unless this man have a bright brain he can't be president neither. Let me tell you something Joaquin Balaguer Ricardo lost his sight at age 28 but he didn't lose his vision. Rafael Leonidas Trujillo the dictator of the Dominican Republic back in the 1940's to 60's saw how bright this man was and he gave him work as ambassador, state secretary among other roles. Mr Balaguer Ricardo then became president he governed the country for 28 years. He wasn't a dictator what happens is that the country saw how bright this man was and elected him almost every time including a time where he governed 12 years in a row. Mr Balaguer was blind and he was the president of the Dominican Republic countless times. Maybe some of you still think he's the president (he died in 2002) During his time as president the Dominican Republic experienced tremendous growth in almost all aspects. Added to his presidency this man was also a lawyer (which he never exercised thanks to politics), and he was a prolific, bright writer. Let me remind you this guy was blind.
Back to our man. I was down, I wasn't feeling good at all. It took this man to reopen the elevator's door and come over and change my day completely. I understood that whatever circumstances I'm going through, he was supposed to go through worse but he refused, he went through pain when he lost his hands but he refused to give up. He pushes that garbage can daily through the HRA Jamaica hallways, he refuses to sit down and receive government help. Ironically this man without hands is working, paying taxes and other people receiving government aid because that person have AIDS, because that person is missing an eye, because that person can't hear properly. Come on we are talking of a hand-less man here. You see, the advantage of this man is that he can ride a bike and say "hey look no hands" and everybody believe him. Not making fun of the man here just inserting a lame joke. If you think that not having hands is not a big deal. I challenge you. Pretend you don't have hands and try to do stuff you do daily like signing papers at your office. Let me tell you something, this man probably found a way to do that. Imagine for a moment how things would be if you didn't have hands. Hey make up artist, painters, cook, stay home mom tell me would it be easy? For this man there is no limit, instead of siting down complaining about how the government is not giving him enough money in public assistance (which he clearly is entitled to receive) this man chose to take a job and work like a man with two hands. Ironically working in a building where people with small disabilities go to ask for help. He keeps that building clean. I typed "like a regular man" but to tell the truth, he is a regular man a disability don't make him different. All my respects go to this man we shared the elevator only one floor or less than 2 minutes and he inspired me in that short time. If you guys and gals are reading this article is thanks to that encounter.
You know, I'm a strong believer that you are the one in charge of your capabilities, you decide what you can handle, you decide what you can't handle. For some reasons people end up doing unbelievable stuff when they get challenged. Even when we fail, we look back and say, "I still can't believe I did that", "well I couldn't do this but I did that" , "now I know I can do that" have you ever feel something like that? let me tell you one thing. When I played basketball I used to do just enough I never really played hard enough unless was clutch moments I would pull a block out of nowhere. Out of nowhere the guy letting the game slip away from him, commit turnover after turnover would become a tenacious defender and great passer. On one particular episode back in high school I remember driving through the lane and jumping so hard that I could see the top of the rim. Everyone was expecting to see that dunk. I wasn't that tall I barely stood 5'11" but I jumped pretty hard. When I got up there, I got scared because I haven't dunk before, I looked away and I ended up crashing the ball against the side of the backboard resulting on a ridiculous turnover. The same guy who previously blocked one shooter using a teammate as a shield to keep me away although I haven't show danger all game long. I jumped and blocked that guy on top of his teammate, collected the ball, passed it away, ran open down court, received a long pass, jumped but I didn't feel capable of dunking I chickened out. I was always the "just to make the 5" guy. One day in particular I got fed up because they were not giving me plays, I was so mad that I was ignoring when they told me "pass" I took shot after shot after shot. I remember scoring 16 of 21 points including some ridiculous fade away three point shots. I was mad, my true skills showed up, but by the next game after celebrating the win, I was back to the same I was before. I was lazy, I had potential to play really good but I never played to my full potential. I let anybody I played with to mold my style of playing and I didn't fight to prove them wrong.
In the united states specially New York City temperatures fall as low as 21ºF in some cases even 10ºF. She's my mother but I have to tell you the truth. The lowest temperature I ever endured in Dominican Republic was 65ºF usually the lowest is 75ºF only one occasion we got lower than 75 and that was December 2000. My mother always complaints about the cold, she keeps all windows closed all winter long, spring, and fall. She rarely leaves the house and sometimes she wears three sweaters and a coat. After 14 years here, she just can't deal with the cold temperatures, she's always sick. She didn't face the challenges put in front of her. You see, the difference between a capability and a disability, being great or fail is the way we react to a challenge. The man I spoke to you about he found himself with no hands, but he challenged himself to work even without hands. I look at this man and I wonder what would he have done if he had both of his hands I don't care why he lost his hands, this guy probably feel bad every time he wakes up and find himself with no hands; but he faces his challenges, he battle with the barrier that life gave him. He knows he was given a challenge and he has to live with it.
I'm so happy to see you here reading me one more time. You that have no disabilities, you have a gift, go out there and make the difference. "Victor I'm poor" and? Andrew Carnegie had nothing but 10 dollars, and a 6th grade of education when he came to USA and he became the richest man ever known. 'Victor I'm homeless" And? You are reading this you are probably in a library which is great, take this time to learn about the most famous homeless of all time. Mr Chris Gardner writer of "The Pursuit of Happiness" He fought through adversity and became a very powerful man. Maybe you can find a way to take out the DVD version or on netflix with Will and Jaden Smith. There's this young lady by the name Johanna. A very hardworking young lady but she lost her job when the Smash Burger she used to work at closed down. Seeking for work I met her at a customer services training. She resided in a shelter by then. One of the obstacles she faced is that to be in the program, she had to be there early, unfortunately she has to go through a lot of stuff in the morning and she would be arriving late. She had the choice of just not doing it. But she wanted this so bad that she spoke to the directors of the program including the teacher. They saw her hunger and conceded her an extra half an hour. Once she got there she was on, she was participating, one of the top students. Out of ten participating, only four got hired. She's one of them, she will be in the roster for the new Century 21 Store in New York opening September 18.
Our disabilities reside in our head, is up to you to challenge it and make a better future for you and those around you. You that have a disability, challenge yourself to make a difference, do something different, challenge yourself. Don't forget that there was a blind president/writer don't forget that if you haven't try it, you don't know if you can. What if you can and you didn't know?
Talk to you two weeks from now.